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GDC "moving forward as planned" despite exhibitor cancellations and coronavirus concerns

Bay Area risk is still low, SFDPH says.

The Game Developers Conference website has been updated to assure attendees that the event is "moving forward as planned," despite new preventative health measures issued by the city of San Francisco related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The city of San Francisco has declared a local emergency in response to COVID-19. The San Francisco Department Of Public Health say there are still no cases of the virus reported in the city but that "given the high volume of international travel from SF, there is a growing likelihood that we will see cases eventually."

SFDPH say that the state of emergency will "mobilize city resources, streamline staffing, coordinate agencies across the city" in the event that COVID-19 does spread to the city. "Currently, Bay Area residents remain at low risk of becoming infected with COVID-19," SFDPH reiterate. The greatest risk is still travel to areas with high numbers of confirmed cases or close contact with someone already infected with the virus.

GDC and other large industry events attract a high volume of international travel, pulling in developers and travelers from all over the world. Knowing the risk of so many individuals coming together in one place, multiple companies have cancelled their appearances at GDC, Sony and Facebook among them. Other companies and attendees have needed to cancel attendance to comply with the travel restrictions issued by the US State Department.

Despite cancellations and travel prohibitions, GDC claim they will carry on as planned. "Locally, the California Department of Public Health, the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and the San Francisco Travel Association continue to support the convening of public events, and we are moving forward as planned," their website now says.

GDC has not been the only international event affected by the spread of COVID-19. The Overwatch League cancelled matches in South Korea recently. Sony has pulled out of PAX East in Boston this week in addition to GDC.

The World Health Organization's report as of today lists a total of 81,109 COVID-19 cases confirmed worldwide, 78,191 of which are in China where the first case was reported.

GDC will take place from March 16th to March 20th in San Francisco. They have been updating their site as important attendance-related information about the coronavirus becomes available.

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Lauren Morton